Another packed Saturday awaits college basketball betting fans. Looking through all the games, there are dozens of online sports betting opportunities, but I homed in on the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) in particular and plucked two matchups here plus an inter-conference game with a reliable Top-25 team.
Clemson Tigers vs Duke Blue Devils
It’s an interesting clash of styles as the Clemson Tigers meet the Duke Blue Devils in an ACC showdown. Duke and Clemson are seventh and eighth in the conference, respectively. Duke is 4-3 in the conference and 6-5 overall. Clemson is 4-4 and 10-4.
Duke has been disappointing this season both on the court and on the online betting lines. The Blue Devils are 2-9 against the spread and 1-6 at home. The Blue Devils are a solid team that doesn’t excel in any particular area. They have a top-50 offense and defense according to KenPom.com.
Clemson has brandished a Top-20 defense, but are sorely lacking on offense. Their 65.2 points per game are 304th in the nation. While they’re able to keep their opponents to 62.4 points (26th fewest), they’ve struggled to contain higher-rated offenses like Duke.
In a close matchup between a great defense with a bad offense and a good offense with a good defense, I side with the latter. It’s nerve-racking betting on Duke given their recent track record, but the spread shouldn’t be a problem here.
Pick: Duke Blue Devils to win and cover
Florida Gators vs (11) West Virginia Mountaineers
In this inter-conference matchup, the SEC’s third-ranked Florida Gators will take on the no. 11 West Virginia Mountaineers, the fourth-ranked team in the Big 12. The Gators are 3-1 in inter-conference play and 9-4 overall while the Mountaineers are 7-1 and 11-4.
The Mountaineers’ only non-conference loss came at the hands of the top team in the country, Gonzaga. Despite putting up 75.4 points per game (98th), WVU struggles with their shooting. Their 42.6 percent is 254th overall. They’ll need to be more efficient against Florida and their top-50 defense.
The Gators aren’t rated as highly as the Mountaineers, but their mix of reliable outside shooting (37.8 percent from deep, 40th overall) and scrappy defense could give WVU a scare. But there is a glaring weakness from the Gators: the perimeter.
Florida lets opponents hit 34.6 percent of their threes. WVU may not be laser-eyed from here, but they have enough shooters to make Florida pay and they play more carefully. The Gators have a negative assist-to-turnover-ratio and commit almost 20 fouls a game. WVU wins this on finesse and consistency.
Pick: West Virginia Mountaineers to win and cover
Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs Pittsburgh Panthers
In another ACC tussle, Notre Dame takes on Pittsburgh in what should be an easy victory for the Panthers. Notre Dame is 2-6 in the conference and 5-9 overall while Pittsburgh is 4-3 and 8-4.
The spread underestimates the Panthers. They haven’t been the prettiest team to watch, but they will likely head to the NCAA March Madness tournament as a lively dog thanks to their aggressive rebounding (16th) and a top-50 defense that only allows 28.3% of threes (20th) and 40.1% of field goals (75th).
Notre Dame is on the other end of the spectrum. Their offense is ranked 38th but their defense is 160th. The Fighting Irish don’t fight on defense allowing teams to shoot 35.7% from deep and 45.2% overall. They also have one of the worst steal rates at just under four per game.
Although Notre Dame can score, they won’t against Pittsburgh who is the bigger and more physical team of the two. They will out rebound and outhustle Notre Dame and make this one ugly. But they’ll win and cover, no problem.
Pick: Pittsburgh Panthers to win and cover
Parlay: Duke West Virginia, and Pittsburgh all to cover
Three teams and three small spreads to cover. I’m highly confident in West Virginia and Pittsburgh in their favorable matchups against Florida and Notre Dame, respectively.
It’s the right circumstance for the two as both Florida and Notre Dame are close enough in the overall ranking to make the spread small. But the matchups are heavily against them. The spreads should be bigger, but we’ll gladly take it and bet the chalks.
The swing bet here is Duke, which has been tough to trust recently. But Clemson is bad enough on offense that Duke can build a sizable enough lead to cover. Additionally, to check out more specific information about the NCAAB props available for the Arizona vs UCLA matchup.
There are about 50 games all going on tomorrow. Check the online sportsbook and parlay up to 20 bets. I don’t recommend that if you want a “realistic” shot at winning, but treat it like a lottery ticket. You just never know!